Computers & Information Science

McLuhan, Marshall, & Quentin Fiore | The Medium is the Massage

  • First edition, first printing of this classic by the original prophet of the information age.

    Marshall McLuhan (1911-1980) was a Canadian professor and literary critic who became one of the 20th century's most controversial media theorists. Expanding on his expertise in the history of early literature and printing, he argued that "the medium is the message" - that the physical form of a communication technology affects our reception of the messages it delivers. Thus, printed books, newspapers, radio, television, the telephone and, eventually, the internet, each affect individuals and society in different ways. While McLuhan was in some senses a technological determinist, believing that technology strongly disrupts and reshapes human culture, he tempered this with humanism, and advocated better research and education that would allow individuals to take control of how their lives were being influenced by the media. Today he is revered for his prescience regarding the digital revolution, and is seen by many as a pioneer of the philosophies of creative disruption and technological libertarianism that have so influenced the development of the modern internet and the world around it. The Medium is the Massage ("massage" was originally a typesetter's error that McLuhan liked and kept as the title) was published in 1967 as an illustrated introduction to McLuhan's philosophy for the general public. Though he had already published several books on his theories, including The Mechanical Bride and Culture is Our Business, they were somewhat academic, and it was the electrifying The Medium is the Massage that became a best-seller and cemented its author's reputation as one of the great thinkers of the 20th century.

  • ...Co-ordinated by Jerome Agel. New York: Random House, 1967.

    Tall quarto. Original black and white cloth, titles to spine in black and white, black endpapers, top edge dyed black. With the dust jacket. Black and white illustrations throughout. Cloth toned and with a few small spots on the upper cover. A very good copy in the price-clipped jacket that is lightly rubbed with some spotting, nicks, and a few short closed tears with old tape repairs on the verso.